I didn’t want to hold the picture, anymore. I tried to hand it to Mike. He didn’t want it, either. It seemed wrong in a way that I’d never thought a sheet of typing paper could seem wrong. I put it down on Jill’s milk crate coffee table.
“You don’t like it,” Lynn said.
“Well, no, not really,” I said. Lynn’s face fell. “I mean, it’s GOOD. My God, it’s very well done. It’s just…”
“It’s freaky as shit,” Moira supplied. “Tell the truth, Lynn. Why did you draw this?”
“I really did dream it,” Lynn said. “At least, I think I dreamed it.”
“Oh, God,” Trish said.
“It’s entirely possible,” Kat offered, “that Lynn has The Gift Of Sight. Maybe she knew that Jonathan was going to leave. Maybe she knew before he even knew he was leaving.”
“Maybe it’s like a photograph. Maybe she saw it. Maybe it happened the way it happened in her freaky drawing,” Moira said. “Maybe we all watched him go.”
“Hush, Moira,” I said. I stared hard at her. We couldn’t afford to go where Moira was willing to go, where Moira seem compelled to drag us. Moira jutted her jaw at me, but she didn’t say anything else.
“People,” Kate sighed, “as much fun as this has been, Kat and I have to get to work.”
“The show must go on, huh?,” Moira hissed.
“As a matter of fact, yes,” said Kat. “We need those jobs. We need food, and we don’t want to become unnecessary fixtures in this building.”
“Could they use another girl?,” I asked.
“Honey, they would love to have some fresh meat down there,” Kate said.
“OK, Trish. You’ve got a new job,” I said.
“ME?!!!,” Trish yelped. “I don’t want to be no damned hooker. I’m a member of the armed forces. I don’t show my titties. For money.”
“We aren’t hookers,” Kat interjected.
“My thinking is,” I said, “that Trish is the person Bob is least likely to recognize. When he first saw her, she was still in uniform.”
“We’re back to Bob,” Moira rolled her eyes. “I think we have other things to worry about, now.”
“Wouldn’t you like to know what happened to Jill?”
“We weren’t in Manhattan Plaza when Jonathan disappeared. Jonathan disappeared right here. I don’t think Bob is anything but some asshole we annoyed. I’m sick of running around like the Little Rascals, personally. At this point, I wouldn’t be surprised if you suggested we serve Bob a cake with a mousetrap in it.”
“So, what do we do, Moira?,” Mike had chosen a side. “Do we sit here and wonder whether or not we are crazy until we starve? Who do you want to eat in a couple of weeks?”
“If we are forcing Trish here into prostitution, what are the rest of us going to do for the team?,” Moira asked.
“You and Lynn can stay here and watch our stuff,” I said.
“Oh, we’ll be fabulous guards,” Moira spat. “I’m tiny and she’s a bag of crack whore bones. What do you have planned for yourself and Mike, pray tell?”
“I’d like for us to do a little scouting. Maybe get some information off the streets. We don’t really have a big picture, here. We just have little pictures of where we are at any given time. You up for that, Mike?”
Mike nodded agreement.
Trish wailed, “What about me?!!! Don’t I get a choice?”
“Sure you do, Trish. Will you help us? Will you be our eyes in Show World? Would you help us find Jill?” We all looked at Trish.
“OK,” she sighed. “Just this once.”
Mike and I walked out onto 42nd St., afraid for the first time since we’d each come to the city. The noise and the smells rolled over us. There was garbage everywhere. No curbside pickup, anymore. The black bags that normally waited in piles on the sidewalk were torn open and deflated, the contents strewn around. There were a lot more scavengers, these days.
“Which way do we go?,” I asked Mike, suddenly unsure of myself.
“Well, we want information,” he said, “so let’s go right over there.” He pointed at the raucous crowd that was starting to form on the southeastern corner of 42nd and 8th.